Presidents generally get too much or too little credit for job creation.
“In general, presidents and their policies matter much less for the economy’s performance than most people imagine,” Paul Krugman recently wrote then noted:
The point, however, is that politicians and pundits, especially on the right, constantly insist that presidential policies matter a lot. And Mr. Obama, in particular, has been attacked at every stage of his presidency for policies that his critics allege are “job-killing” — the former House speaker, John Boehner, once used the phrase seven times in less than 14 minutes.
Following news that 20 million Americans have gained health insurance, the Labor Department reported that 242,000 jobs were created in February, exceeding expectations again. This isn’t to say the economy is great — wages aren’t growing, too many people can’t find more or better work and the only thing Congress is doing about it is offering the weakest kind of Stimulus available, corporate tax breaks.
But we have proven that taxing the rich for the most radical expansion of health insurance since the 1960s has led to the best job creation of the century — the exact opposite of what Republicans predicted.
So this is a good moment to remind ourselves that workers doing better under a Democratic president isn’t a fluke or anomaly — it’s been the rule for most of the last century.
And if you look at private sector employment, the metric Republicans say they care most about, the last three Democratic presidents demolish the last three Republicans.
Under Reagan, Bush and Bush, 15,831,000 private sector jobs were created, according to Calculated Risk. Under Carter, Clinton and Obama, 39,631,000 have been created through January of this year.
Maybe the attention that Democrats focus on working people might just lead to more working people. Either way Democrats deserve some credit for at least being consistently twice as lucky as Republicans.
And the public may be noticing that things are not as dismal as Republicans imagine. President Obama’s approval rating is over 51 percent today. That’s same as Ronald Reagan’s approval rating in early March of 1988.
What was George W. Bush’s approval in March of 2008? 32 percent.